Bill Zanker

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Bill Zanker is an American businessman who is best known for being the founder of the adult education company The Learning Annex.

Early life and education[edit]

Zanker grew up in Teaneck, New Jersey. As a senior at Teaneck High School, Zanker was one of the organizers of a course in Jewish history and culture that started at the high school in the 1972-3 school year after he graduated, an initiative described by The New York Times as "the first public school in the state to offer a Jewish history course."[1]

He earned a bachelor of arts degree from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and majored in film towards a master's degree at The New School.[2]

Entrepreneurial pursuits[edit]

The Learning Annex[edit]

In 1980 Zanker founded The Learning Annex, which he later sold in 1991. He remained a consultant until 1997, when he partnered with California Learning Annex and acquired New York Learning Annex. In December 2001, Zanker became the owner of all Learning Annex Properties after buying out his partners.[3]

The Great American BackRub[edit]

In 1993, Zanker founded a chain of stress reduction stores called The Great American BackRub. He sold the company to The Barclay Group in 1997.[4]

Think Big and Kick Ass in Business and Life[edit]

In 2007, Zanker co-authored a New York Times best selling book with Donald Trump called Think Big and Kick Ass in Business and Life, also released under the title Think Big: Make It Happen in Business and Life.[5][6] In 2015, Zanker created, packaged, sold and promoted President Trump's campaign NYT bestseller Crippled America.


In 2013, Zanker announced the launch of, a digital platform aimed at broadening the crowdfunding market to include the general public. One of the more notable financial partners is Donald Trump; who, in 2013, announced that he would personally support new projects on a weekly basis that would also be promoted on Trump's Twitter account.[7] However, Trump's participation was short-lived, and his last mention of the project was in March 2014.[8]

In July 2013, the platform supported comedian and radio personality Adam Carolla in his efforts to raise US$1 million in under 30 days for his film Road Hard.[9]


  1. ^ Rosenblatt, Gary. "Jewish Past: New Course In Teaneck", The New York Times, April 30, 1972. Accessed January 15, 2018. "Next September Teaneck High School will become the first public high school in the state to offer a Jewish history course. The result of a two‐year struggle by a small group of students, the course was unanimously approved by the Board of Education at a recent meeting.... Bill Zanker, a senior and another organizer of the course, said he had become involved 'when I saw that history books were slighting the Jew and nothing was being done about it.'"
  2. ^ Timberlake, Cotten. "'How To' Courses Leading 30-Year-Old to Riches", Los Angeles Times, January 24, 1985. Accessed January 15, 2018.
  3. ^ "WELCOME TO THE EARNING ANNEX". Retrieved 2020-01-22.
  4. ^ "Back Rub Entrepreneur Says He Feels the Knead for National Expansion : Personal services: He hopes to build fledgling company from its three stores now to 'McRub' by the turn of the century". Los Angeles Times. 1995-04-29. Retrieved 2020-01-22.
  5. ^ Chan, Sewell. "Cash Giveaway Promotes Trump Book", The New York Times, October 16, 2007. Accessed January 15, 2018. "The new book, 'Think Big and Kick Ass in Business and Life,' was written by Mr. Trump and Bill Zanker, the Learning Annex founder and president."
  6. ^ Shesol, Jeff. "What Kind of Loyalty Does a President Need?", The New Yorker, May 19, 2017. Accessed January 15, 2018. "Donald Trump is, 'like, this great loyalty freak,' by his own telling. 'I put the people who are loyal to me on a high pedestal and take care of them very well,' he wrote in Think Big and Kick Ass in Business and Life, a sort of self-help book for budding blowhards that Trump produced with a co-author, Bill Zanker, in 2007."
  7. ^ "Donald Trump gets into crowdfunding". CNN. Retrieved 2013-05-07.
  8. ^ Primack, Dan (December 4, 2014). "Donald Trump bails on crowdfunding site". Fortune. Retrieved 7 March 2022.
  9. ^ Jens Erik Gould (12 September 2013). "In Hollywood, Crowdfunding Isn't Just for No-Names". The Financialist. Credit Suisse. Archived from the original on 16 September 2013. Retrieved 13 September 2013.